Navigation Links
Chewing Khat Linked to Severe Liver Damage
Date:4/28/2010

Herb appears to lead to liver failure in some, British researchers say

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Chewing khat leaves for a mild high is popular in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the practice is also seen among certain immigrant groups in Great Britain and the United States.

But chewing khat can cause severe liver damage and even death, British researchers report.

Khat contains cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant that causes euphoria, excitement and loss of appetite. Although banned in the United States, it finds its way to North America from Britain, where it is readily available, the researchers reported in a letter to the editor in the April 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Eugene Schiff, director of the Center for Liver Diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, said the danger posed by khat "is well established in the literature."

"We see this in a variety of herbal substances," he added.

In their letter, Dr. Michael H. Chapman, of University College London Medical School, and his colleagues reported on six patients in Britain who had either died of liver failure or needed liver transplants. The common denominator and suspected cause was the chewing of khat leaves.

The patients were seen over five years and all had been cautioned about khat's risks. One of the patients died and five needed liver transplants, the researchers said.

Chapman's group found no other potential causes for liver damage. Five of the patients had a history of unexplained hepatitis.

Khat has also been linked to mental problems and heart disease, the researchers noted.

While it's not exactly known how khat damages the liver, Chapman's team speculates that it triggers low-level hepatitis, and repeated use leads to chronic liver disease.

Schiff said that when doctors see liver problems associated with a drug as widely used as khat, "it usually means that that particular person is metabolizing it differently, because otherwise you would see it in thousands of people."

Chapman's team thinks that doctors should consider khat as a cause of unexplained liver disease among patients from ethnic communities where khat chewing is common.

Schiff agreed that doctors should suspect khat as a cause of unexplained liver disease in appropriate patients. But, he added, even if you know the cause, patients with this degree of liver failure will still need a transplant.

"People who are doing this are taking it on their own and have no idea that it is toxic to the liver," Schiff said, adding that users need to be better informed about the risks.

More information

For more on liver disease, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Eugene Schiff, M.D., director of the Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; April 29, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Four Unhealthy Behaviors Linked to Premature Death
2. Allergy-Linked Mouth Breathing Spells Trouble for Kids
3. Breast density change linked to cancer development in WHI hormone replacement study
4. Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
5. MiRNA-21 linked to tumor suppressor loss, herceptin resistance
6. Abnormal Heart Rhythm Linked to Alzheimers
7. Human development index linked to stem cell transplant rates and success in leukemia patients
8. Temperature-sensing protein linked to skin cancer, hirsutism
9. Better patient safety linked to fewer medical malpractice claims in California
10. Age Management Medicine Conference Reports 21% Spike in Physician Registration, Linked To Frustrations With New Health Reform Legislation
11. Scientists find gene linked to schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a Media ... give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title layers in ... Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women are ... with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate symptoms ... can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The specialists ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported ... head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest ... in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned ... the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at ... fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, ... the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. ... toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, ... pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," ... will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in ... durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has ... is led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel ... investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization ... release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing ... thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: